Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pleasant trip back in time

Last night, P. and I went to the Early Music Studio at Melbourne University for a performance by La Romanesca with countertenor Hartley Newnham, and three instrumentalists playing a host of unusual things like vielle, psaltery and vihuela. They performed 16th century songs and earlier, including some haunting Sephardic ballads. It was a very pleasant and intimate occasion, including wine and cheese.

We then went to Carlton for a good Japanese meal (the salmon, avocado and wasabi was great) and met Frank on the bus on the way home from his Ensemble Gombert rehearsal. We then watched the last episode of The Wire which was very satisfying, but what will we watch now for late-night television? I suppose we could start again at the beginning.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Business as usual

On Saturday, it was Convent Market day, so P., Frank and I went down for the usual goodies, then P. and Frank went off to the supermarket. I was picked up by Pat A. for a journey to the Dandenongs for lunch. It was in place of our old Penguin dinners, this time in George and Lou's patch of Sassafras. The lunch was at Ripe and was good food (lots of it). A smaller gathering than usual because several people were unavailable, but very pleasant nonetheless. I had to fit in two exchanges before going, which meant getting up early.

Sunday was very quiet but I got a deal of work done on the autobiography, and sent it back to the author this morning. I am settling into the dialysis routine, and finding it not too onerous. The last of the day is very easy, as it is usually while watching tellie. The third is the most difficult to fit around whatever is the early evening activity, whether it is cooking dinner, or else going out somewhere. However, it is flexible and I am getting used to it. My hands have never been so clean from all the hand scrubbing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A minor hitch

On Wednesday night, P. and I went to dinner at Frank's for delish fish, followed by poached fruit. On Thursday, I went to the Renal Clinic where I got a tick and a slight change of medication, then rushed home to see Aton, the trainer, who cut my leash and said I was ready to go. Then followed a day and a half of self-dialysis. All was going swimmingly until this afternoon when I sprung a leak. My patient line started dripping while I was emptying out. Catastrophe! I rang the dialysis unit, who said to come over right away.

A quick trip to Parkville resulted in a new patient line, plus a fillup bag laden with antibiotics just in case some bugs sneaked in the hole in the line. Thanks to Linda and Aton for prompt action. Apparently it is a very rare occurrence, having a rupture in the line.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nearly trained

A fairly quiet weekend (normal shopping and brunch) included the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra Sunday concert, which was mainly Sibelius, with the excellent Sara McIver premiering three new songs by Calvin Bowman. It was a very enjoyable concert.

Most of this week has been spent on dialysis training. The first day was at the Home Dialysis Centre in Parkville, and then at home. Aton, my trainer, has patiently and clearly seen me through the not-very-complicated procedure. After this arvo's session, I'll be on my own to go onto full (four times a day) dialysis. So far, so good.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Special delivery

Today, almost literally a truckload of 'stuff' turned up. Boxes and boxes of dialysis fluid, in three strengths, and several boxes of unknown material, which I haven't had the strength to open yet. I think I'll wait till the dialysis nurse arrives.

As well, I had a busy day working on the autobiography, and made very good progress, but I'm a bit exhausted now.

Last night, P. and I went to see Melbourne Opera's production of Barber of Seville. We were a bit wary, having seen such a superb production in Vienna, but it was excellent. Sally-Anne Russell made a very good showing in the lead, and the rest of the cast was very strong. We were in the front row, which helped with a 'wall of sound'. Beforehand, we dined next door at Bistro d'Orsay. It's a bit pricey, but convenient and delicious. I had luscious scallops, plus goat's cheese souffle. P. had fish, which he said was very good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Looking up

On Tuesday, Dad picked me up and took me to the Home Dialysis Centre in Parkville. I was a bit apprehensive on several scores, but all went well. They changed the dressing for the first time (a week after the op.) and one wound was almost completely healed. The one for the catheter was repairing well. Then, the nurse had a trial go with the catheter, putting in about 800mm of fluid, then draining it. With a bit of persuasion, it worked!

Moving right along, on Friday, a delivery comes with all the dialysis paraphenalia, and I start training on Monday. The first two days are at Parkville, then the rest at home. No rest, as they say...

Last night, P., Frank and I went to the Hawkers' Market, part of the Food and Wine Festival. We each had four vouchers, which was really one too many. I had some Japanese potato pancakes which were delicious, some cold salmon and Balinese roast pork and banana-leaf fish. The whole affair was well organised, and, in spite of good attendance, not too crowded.

Also yesterday, I sent off the next batch of autobiography to the author. In the fastest turnaround ever, he had it back to me by the afternoon. So now I'm going through the whole lot again, which will be difficult with all the dialysis training but I have a deadline.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Slow progress

It's been a rougher week than I anticipated. Not so much painful as irritating, with trouble sleeping and concentrating. P. has been marvellous, cooking all the meals and generally looking after me. By today, I was sick of it, so I've ditched the pyjamas and got dressed. I did, however, manage to do a bit of work on the autobiography, so I'm on track with that for its deadline.

This morning, P. and Frank did the shopping on their Pat Malone, while I languished at home, but the time for languishing has passed methinks.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fully installed

Yesterday, I got to the Hospital early and with minimal delay was soon with a friendly band of surgeons and anaesthestists who knocked me out quickly. I woke up in Three East, a 23-hour ward near the operating theatres for patients expected to be discharged within 23 hours. This was at about 11.30am, but I soon went back to sleep and slept most of the day.

By nighttime, I could hardly sleep, partly because of the diuretic effect of the anaesthetic, I think, which kept me up constantly anyway. The staff in Three East were terrific, kind and helpful and I was discharged this morning after a change of dressing. It is understandably a bit painful in some positions and will take a while to heal (15 days is the estimate).

Meanwhile, it's good to be back at the desk, and, sure enough, the next instalment of the autobiography has come back.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Go, go, go

On Friday, I went in to perioperative. Rather than a long wait, Jayne, from Renal was there waiting for me, gave me my tests and weights, then I waited about half an hour for the anaesthetist. She gave me the all-clear for an anaesthetic, so it's all go for Tuesday. I just have to get there at SEVEN AM.

On Saturday, little Roz the Yaris had gone away for a long weekend holiday, so we got Dennis the Alto and did normal shopping and had brunch at Red Tongue for old time's sake. Now for a quiet weekend, trying to get at least some work done on the autobiography before going into hospital, but before that the bifteks for tonight's dinner beckon.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Instant action

This morning, off to the Hospital for a renal appointment. Dr Chrystomou went straight into action and before I knew it, my preoperative appointment was rescheduled for tomorrow (Friday) and my surgery for Tuesday morning. Apparently, all my kidney signs are not looking too good. I will probably go in on Tuesday morning and out on Wednesday with a brand new dialysis catheter installed.

Meanwhile, I did manage to get a bit of work done and off to my NSW author, and a visit to the health centre for my blood-boosting injection and some refresher pills to keep my kidneys going in the meantime. P. has been doing all the cooking this week, for which I am very grateful, as he hasn't been feeling the best himself. Tonight, we had comforting roast chook with all the trimmings to keep both body and soul together.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Social weekend ends badly

After normal Saturday market and mall shopping, we had a nice lunch in Fitzroy at a new place which seems to specialise in pancakes. Frank and I had eggs with maple syrup which were delicious. Later that night, we sampled some of Frank's market produce for dinner: a steak and mushroom pie.

On Sunday morn, we headed to Sal's for a pleasant brunch with some of her friends: croissants, fruit salad and coffee and pleasant chats. Then it was home for a scratch lunch and the rot set in. First, P. started throwing up late in the afternoon, while in the process of cooking a slow-roasted pork dish, then later in the evening, after valiantly trying to eat some of it, I joined him. By Monday, we were both laid low by the lurgi, so I cancelled my preoperative visit which will be rescheduled. By Wednesday, we are just recovering. I have managed to do a bit of work, though not much, just enough not to get too far behind.

P. has been to the health centre, which gave him a few days off, and we have been both abed much of the time. We are feeling a bit better today, and will essay the pork for dinner tonight, after having eaten nothing but bland and soups for days. Tomorrow, I've got a hospital visit so I'll see what they say but unfortunately my blood test predates the food poisoning.